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Seattle’s Coleman writes response to deaf girl PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, January 22, 2014 9:19 PM

By TIM BOOTH

Associated Press

 

RENTON, Wash. — Before heading to a team walkthrough Wednesday morning, Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman felt the need to write.

So he took a couple of minutes to write to 9-year-old Riley Kovalcik after a letter she wrote to Coleman ended up on his Twitter feed a day earlier.

“This morning I woke up and was like let me write something back. So right before our walkthrough I wrote up a little something,” Coleman said in the Seahawks’ locker room on Wednesday afternoon. “Might see some grammar mistakes in there but I was trying to put it out right quick and send it back.”

Kovalcik, who is hearing-impaired, saw her letter get circulated around social media on Tuesday after it was retweeted by Coleman, who is also hearing impaired. The 9-year-old wrote, “Just try your best. I have faif (sic) in you Derrick good Job on January 20th game.”

Kovalick also wrote that she wears two hearing aids just like Coleman and she also has a twin sister that wears one hearing aid.

The letter was sent via Twitter by Riley’s father, Jake. He told the New York Daily News on Wednesday that he posted the letter to show Coleman how much of an inspiration he is for kids. Coleman posted his letter to Twitter on Wednesday so she could see his response.

“He’s been so successful. He’s somebody to look up to and he made her feel like hearing aids are cool,” Jake Kovalick told the Daily News.

Coleman said he regularly receives letters but Riley’s felt special and that’s why he took the time to respond so quickly even as the Seahawks are preparing for next week’s Super Bowl against Denver. Coleman wrote, “I want you to know that I always try my best in everything that I do and faith in you & your twin sister too. Even though we wear hearing aids we can still accomplish our goals & dreams.”

Coleman recently did a commercial for Duracell batteries that has become a YouTube sensation with more than 9 million views.

“It means the world to them,” Coleman added of the letter. “It only took a couple of minutes of my time.”

Harvin back to practice for Seattle: Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin has cleared league-mandated concussion protocol and has returned to practice as a full participant.

Harvin was on the field for Seattle’s practice on Wednesday, his first since suffering a concussion in the second quarter of the NFC divisional playoff game against New Orleans on Jan. 11. Harvin was not cleared last week and was unable to play in the NFC championship game against San Francisco.

Harvin’s had an injury-filled season, playing in just two of 18 games. He had hip surgery in early August and made his debut in Week 11 against Minnesota. Harvin suffered complications after that one game and was unable to make it back until the postseason. He had three receptions and one carry for 9 yards before being injured against the Saints.

Sherman surprised by public reaction: Richard Sherman wondered if he came to the NFL 20 years too late.

The Seahawks’ All-Pro cornerback wondered if his swagger might have fit better a few decades earlier when that confidence and an unfiltered tongue was perhaps more accepted.

“I studied the old-school game more than I studied the new school game and I play it that way. It rubs a lot of people the wrong way,” Sherman said Wednesday. “Giving a true speech after a game, a true passionate speech is old-school football. Playing press corner and sitting up there every play is old-school football. I guess maybe I just haven’t adjusted to the times.”

Sherman spoke at length for the first time since Sunday’s NFC championship game win over San Francisco where his postgame comments to Fox reporter Erin Andrews became the talking point. It was a loud, emotional moment that happened just a few minutes after the Seahawks earned the second Super Bowl berth in franchise history.

Sherman was at the center of the decisive play, deflecting a pass intended for Michael Crabtree in the end zone and watching teammate Malcolm Smith run over to intercept it to clinch the victory. Sherman’s ensuing remarks were directed mostly at Crabtree but his intense, shouting delivery is what took people aback.

Sherman said the reaction that followed over the next two days left him a little stunned as well.

“I was surprised by it. Because we’re talking about football here and a lot of people took it a little bit further than football.” Sherman said. “I guess some people showed how far we have really come in this day and age and it was kind of profound what happened and people’s opinions of that nature, because I was on a football field showing passion. Maybe it was misdirected, maybe things may have been immature, maybe things could have been worded better but this is on a football field. I didn’t commit any crimes, I wasn’t doing anything illegal. I was showing passion after a football game.”

Sherman apologized for taking away the spotlight from the performances by some of his teammates. Marshawn Lynch’s 109 yards rushing and 40-yard touchdown, Jermaine Kearse’s 35-yard touchdown catch on fourth-down and Bobby Wagner’s 15 tackles all became secondary to Sherman’s words.

What seemed to bother Sherman the most in the fallout was hearing the word “thug” attached to his name.

“The only reason it bothers me is it seems like it’s an accepted way of calling someone the N-word nowadays. It’s like everybody else said the N-word and they said thug and they’re like, ‘that’s fine’,” Sherman explained. “That’s where it kind of takes me aback. It’s kind of disappointing because they know. What is the definition of a thug, really?”

While there’s been criticism for his rant, he’s also received support. Perhaps most surprising was a tweet from baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Aaron. Not a huge user of social media — Aaron had sent seven tweets before Tuesday — his message to Sherman read, “hang in there & keep playing as well as you did Sunday. Excellent job - you have my support.”

Sherman thanked Aaron in a tweet, saying “your support is greatly appreciated and very humbling.”

Sherman was peppered with questions for more than 20 minutes Wednesday. Teammate Russell Wilson was also asked about the fallout. He replied it hasn’t been a distraction as the Seahawks begin preparing for Denver.

Sherman also didn’t like hearing that some have labeled the team villainous.

“Anytime you label Russell Wilson a villain, it has to be a joke,” he said.

Sherman told reporters he has not reached out to Crabtree. Sherman attempted to shake Crabtree’s hand following the interception only to get shoved in the face. Even after his on-field interview, Sherman continued to deride Crabtree in his postgame media session, calling the receiver “mediocre” and later saying their problems dated to an incident during an offseason event in Arizona.

Sherman added he doesn’t regret the choke sign he directed at San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a gesture that drew a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

 

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